"do you want to be made well?"
Jesus healing a lame man ~ one of the great, classic examples of His miracles while on earth. But the lame man in John 5 is slightly different from some other stories of healing. Most of the people that were healed by Jesus came to Him ~ or a member of their family did ~ begging for Jesus to help them.
But in this case, the one who needed healing did not come to Jesus. He didn't even know who Jesus was. He sat at the pool of Bethesda, waiting for a miracle, while His Savior walked nearby.
So Jesus came to him, to heal him, but before He did, He asked him, "do you want to be made well?"
It seems like an odd question. But more than just wondering why Jesus asked it, I am intrigued by this question, because it reminds me of a similar question, in one of my favorite movies, "Apollo 13". You probably know the story, but if you don't, you should. Great story.
In a nutshell, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert were en route to the moon when there was an explosion on their spacecraft, and because of damage to the engine, they were forced to just circle the moon, and then return to earth.
The scene I'm reminded of takes place as the spacecraft nears the moon. Lovell has been there before. Though he hasn't landed on the moon, he has orbited it. But Haise and Swigert are transfixed. They're taking pictures and pointing out things to each other that until now they've only seen in photos. The spacecraft completes its path around to the other side, and now, for the first time since their journey began, they are heading towards earth. But Haise and Swigert can't take their eyes off of the moon. And it's hard to blame them.
In the book, James Lovell goes into a little more detail, describing how he was starting to move about the cockpit to prepare for the power-up that would have to happen before long. He would move about from one section to another, fussing with breakers, flipping switches, and having to move around Haise and Swigert, who would mumble, "excuse me" and then return to their positions at the windows.
Finally Captain Lovell cleared his throat and said, "Gentlemen, what are your intentions?"
The first time I saw the movie, I thought it was an odd question. Their intentions? As far as what? But then he followed up his question with his own answer: "I want to go home."
His point was to refocus their attention. They couldn't take their eyes off of what they had been hoping for, even though they knew it was no longer going to happen. They couldn't stop thinking about what was supposed to happen, when it was time to start thinking about what was definitely going to happen. When they blasted off from earth, the plan was to land on the moon. Now, the plan was to get home alive.
Lovell could have just ordered them to get to work. Jesus could have just ordered the man to get up. But asking the question forces the hearer to come to his own conclusion. What are your intentions? Do you want to be made well? It's not just a question; it's a challenge. Living for Him is a challenge, and His questions force us to choose between our selfish desires, and His expectations of us.
"Do you want to be made well?"
"Who are you seeking?"
"Who do you say I am?"
"Why do you call me Lord, and not do what I command?"
Jesus has the answers, but He has the questions, too.
~ "I will question you, and you shall answer Me" ~